In cirrhotic patients, even in a stable nonencephalopathic state, MRI may show cerebral atrophy and increased signal in globus pallidus on T1-weighted sequences. We investigated the relationship between cerebral atrophy and increased pallidal signal and the clinical status of 30 cirrhotic patients. We found a weak association between the two MRI findings. There were different patterns of clinical variables related to the imaging findings. Performance on motor tasks involving speed correlated with the pallidal signal and plasma ammonia levels but not with atrophy. Test results for memory and frontal-premotor function were associated with brain atrophy but not with the pallidal signal or with ammonia.